Durand Cup 2022: Hyderabad FC, Bengaluru FC eye quarterfinal berth in their respective key battles

Hyderabad FC and Bengaluru FC will be firing across all cylinders in their fixtures against NEROCA FC and FC Goa respectively in order to secure their knockout qualification berth.

The Yellow and Blacks were triumphant in a 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC in their last game while the Blues overpowered Indian Air Force in a 4-0 win. FC Goa, on the other end, were on the losing side of a 1-0 Jamshedpur FC win in their last match.

Bengaluru FC vs FC Goa (3pm IST)

Simon Grayson’s side will take on the Gaurs in their Group A fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Needing just a point to qualify for the knockout stages after achieving maximum points in two matches, Bengaluru FC will look to carry on their winning momentum against FC Goa.

“I’m pleased with the way the boys have been performing, they’ve worked hard in training and in the games, but there’s always room to improve. It’s all about getting players up to match speed as quickly as possible and coming through with as few injuries as possible. We have to respect FC Goa as a team, and I am sure that they will give us a good fight,” said Grayson, ahead of the encounter.

The Gaurs, who are fielding an all-young side, will have the three points as their main objective to strengthen their side to keep their hopes alive for the knockouts.

“Across all the three games that we played, there were several phases where we dominated our opponents. Our midfield play has been fine, and this experience will serve the youngsters well in the days to come. Being a young squad, my players lacked experience at the topmost levels of Indian football and also in terms of physicality when compared to the senior players of our opponents - yet they never made that an excuse to give up,” said Deggie Cardozo ahead of kickoff.

“Coming to this tournament as the defending champions, taking the trophies back home has indeed been our top objective all along. We may have lost our way a bit, but it’s not because we played poorly,” he added.

Bengaluru FC’s match against FC Goa is scheduled for 3pm IST and will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18HD, with live streaming available on Voot Select.

Hyderabad FC vs NEROCA FC (6pm IST)

After a thrilling comeback to beat fellow-Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC last week, Hyderabad FC will look to consolidate their place atop the Group C standings of the Durand Cup, when they take on local side NEROCA FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal on Tuesday.

With the race for qualification heating up across the four groups, the clash will be an all-important one for both sides who are unbeaten and currently occupy the top-2 spots in Group-C.

Hyderabad, who beat TRAU FC and Chennaiyin in the last two games, remain at the summit while NEROCA, who beat TRAU in an Imphal derby earlier in the campaign, drew with Army Red FT in their last game and stand second, with a chance to go atop with a positive result in this clash.

Khogen Singh, the Head Coach of the Imphal-based side, has seen his team concede just one goal so far this campaign. The likes of Ragui Tangva, Shimray Thomyo and Chidi John were on the scoresheet in the game against TRAU FC but NEROCA have quality all around the park and could prove to be a tough test for the Champions of India, on Tuesday.

Hyderabad needed a Bartholomew Ogbeche brace and a Joao Victor penalty to secure all three points against Chennaiyin FC in the previous game. But Head Coach Manolo Marquez has now used 23 players in the first two games of the campaign, hoping to get everyone ready for the business end of the tournament.

“We used a lot of players but we know we are playing in the oldest tournament in Asia. So, it is good for the players that they feel important. We still have two games to play in Imphal and more players will get minutes,” said Manolo, about getting the squad fit and ready.

“We are still in pre-season but three points are very important. We are playing a prestigious tournament and we want to win every game,” he added.

Keeping every player fresh, and giving them enough minutes, Hyderabad have made a strong start to the Durand Cup campaign and will hope to cement their place at the top of the group table with a strong performance in this tie.

With the home team in action and Hyderabad acting as a crowd puller in Imphal, this game is expected to be played in front of a packed Khuman Lampak Stadium under the lights, and promises to be a thriller.

Hyderabad FC’s match against NEROCA FC is scheduled for 6pm IST and will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18HD, with live streaming available on Voot Select.

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